You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

Gold Coast fullback AJ Brimson launched his quest for the Queensland Origin No.1 jumper with a starring try-scoring double in the Titans’ 30-20 victory over Canterbury at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Just two days after re-signing with the Titans until the end of 2026, Brimson was the standout as a Gold Coast team minus over $3 million worth of talent held on for a five-tries-to-four win in front of 11,315 fans.

With David Fifita (suspended), Ash Taylor (hip), Tyrone Peachey (suspended), Herman Ese’ese (suspended) and Corey Thompson (ankle) all ruled out it was left to Brimson to provide the moments of brilliance with his two tries and 234 running metres crucial as the Gold Coast moved back into the NRL top eight with their fifth win of the season.

Brimson is locked in a battle with Newcastle’s Kalyn Ponga for the Queensland fullback jersey and the Gold Coast star’s performance may just be enough to win his Origin recall while his Knights counterpart battles a groin injury before teams are named on May 31.

Titans coach Justin Holbrook believes Brimson has done enough to secure the No.1 jersey and said he was impressed with his performance after committing his future to the club during the week.

“I think so, he deserves to play but that’s up to the selectors to work that out,” Holbrook said.

“I thought AJ was terrific, his support play to come up with two tries was important.

Kelly's class releases Brimson

“It’s a big win for our club having a young star of the game and local junior sign with us for a long period then to come out and play the way he did.

“All the young kids in the area love him … my boys said 'why don’t you sign him for 10 years?'

“He is so important for our area. He plays the game the right way. He is tough, he is competitive and he is a try-scorer and he is what all the young kids want to see.”

The Titans led 18-10 at half-time and although they extended their lead to 14 points when Jarrod Wallace scored in the 47th minute, they were made to fight for the win as Canterbury scored twice while Beau Fermor was sin-binned to create an anxious finish.

British Bulldog Luke Thompson barged over in the 69th minute to reduce the deficit to just four points going down the stretch but the Titans finally sealed the win in the 76th minute when Brimson finished off a line break by powerhouse front-rower Moeaki Fotuaika.

Fotuaika was immense for the Titans with 188m and nine tackle busts, while fellow Origin contenders Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (152m) and Phil Sami (259m) also produced big performances.

Fa'asuamaleaui rolls through Bulldogs

“That second half felt like it went for three hours. It was really important we won tonight. We lost last week and we needed to win tonight for our season,” Holbrook said.

“We definitely take that win and move on.”

A big talking point out of the game was the tit-for-tat nature of players staying down to gain penalties from the bunker.

Dylan Napa copped 10 minutes for a high shot on Jarrod Wallace that resulted in a ferocious verbal spray between the former Queensland Origin teammates after Wallace laid on the ground while the bunker reviewed the collision.

It wasn’t the only incident and both coaches agreed players were now trying to get penalties out of the bunker for any contact to the head or neck.

More Kelly brilliance sends Sami over

“It’s the old tit-for-tat thing. Hopefully that doesn’t last too long and we get that out,” Holbrook said.

“We don’t want to become English Premier League.

“We had a lot of it in England, we had a lot of players staying down and the referees boss called the coaches into a big meeting and ‘do we want our game to be like this?’ We said no and they said from now on unless it’s a sin-bin offence we won’t overrule and it was terrific.

“It’s getting difficult, but I understand what we’re trying to do as a game. We are all in agreeance with it. We don’t want to see contact to the head.”

Barrett said the NRL needs to be wary of players trying to play for penalties.

“Yeah that is the danger I suppose,” Barrett said.

“We all understand why the NRL is being hard on it but it is a real grey area at the moment and you don’t want to see people milking penalties or whatever.

“It’s a competitive sport and that is going to happen and it probably happened a few times.

“If you stay down and it gets reviewed and there is any sort of contact it’s a lottery and they could end up in the bin too, we’ve seen plenty of them.”

Brimson scores second try to seal Titans win